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Preview — The Songs of Bilitis by Pierre Louÿs
The Songs of Bilitis
I came across these when studying a late and rarely played Debussy composition, the Six Épigraphes Antiques, each of which were inspired by one of the poems and are partially included at the beginning of each piece (i ...more
Pierre Louÿs was a nineteenth century French author known for lesbian and classical themes in his writing. His short work The Songs of Bilitis includes both of these themes. It is a sensual collection of prose poems that were originally published as translations from the ancient Greek. Louÿs alleged that Bilitis was an actual lesbian poetess from Sapphic antiquity. But this was a hoax; Bilitis and the poems are the creation of Louÿs.
Many of the short prose poems are very beautiful. Some are erot...more
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Until the next day I did not go to bathe, I wore no clothes and did not dress my hair, for fear I might erase some sweet caress.
That morning I did not eat, nor yet at dusk, and put no rouge nor powder on my lips, so that her kiss might cling a little longer.
I left the shutters closed, and did not open the door, for fear the memory of the night before might vanish with the wind.”
"And the stars and the first flush of dawn. The moon has seen its visage in the lake, and told it to the water 'neath the willows. The water told it to the rower's oar.
"And the oar has told it to the boat, and the boat has passed the secret to the fisher. Alas! alas! if that were only all! But the fisher told the secret to a woman.
"The fisher told the secret to a woman: my father and my mother and my sisters, and all of Hellas now shall know the tale.”